How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

The question of how long CBD stays in a person’s body is one of the most common ones asked by people who are planning to take CBD. Knowing how long CBD stays in your system can be important for many professionals and parents who have to undergo drug testing. Although the CBD compound is not considered psychoactive and isn’t usually screened for during drug tests, some CBD products may contain low levels or traces of THC that cause “high” sensations and might be detected in tests. Moreover, using CBD during pregnancy is not recommended according to the few studies that have been conducted. In this article, we will talk about how long CBD stays in your body and the various factors related to its duration in your system, which should help you make your own estimates and understand more about the CBD consumption process.

What does “CBD half-life” mean?

If you have been researching how long CBD stays in the body, you may have often come across the term “CBD half-life”. In this section, we will try to help you understand what it is. Generally speaking, half-life means how long it takes your body to reduce CBD levels in your system to half of its original potential strength or effectiveness.

According to the study, the half-life of cannabidiol is 1.4 to 10.9 hours after oral spray, 2-5 days after chronic oral administration, 24 hours after intravenous administration and 31 hours after smoking.

Actually, the half-life of CBD varies from one person to another. Several factors that we will cover in this article can play an important role.

The method of consumption

One of the main reasons why our bodies’ systems process CBD differently is because of the intake method you choose. Let’s review some of them below.

  • Oral consumption

Oral consumption can be typically the most common way that CBD is taken. Using this method, CBD reaches the bloodstream only after passing through the digestive system and liver. It is important to understand that when CBD is consumed orally, the effects may not be immediate. It can take as long as an hour for them to kick in. Also, CBD edibles or oils that are consumed on an empty stomach can be metabolised and excreted from the body faster. Combining CBD with meals may prolong its circulation in the body.

  • Sublingual intake

The sublingual consumption method is commonly used by those who want to get the most out of their CBD drops. When taken sublingually, CBD can bypass the stomach and enter the bloodstream directly. Therefore, the product’s concentration is not possibly reduced as it bypasses the digestive system. It can kick in faster and the compounds are potentially able to produce more potential effects. After the CBD reaches the bloodstream, it can pass through the liver where the CBD molecules are possibly removed as foreign matter. Finally, the filtered molecules can be completely eliminated from the body through the faeces and urine.

  • Inhalation

Another method of taking CBD is to inhale the product that contains it. Since it is directly absorbed through the lungs, CBD can rapidly reach the bloodstream and begin circulating in the body. The effects can potentially last from around forty minutes to two hours. The CBD may eventually be removed from the body through the same process as in the two previous methods, via faeces and urine.

  • Topical use

Topical CBD products such as creams, masks or serums cannot reach the bloodstream. Instead, the compounds interact with the cannabinoid system’s receptors located on the surface of the skin. This means that blood, saliva or urine drug tests will not detect whether or not you have used CBD cosmetics. Moreover, CBD has been added to the list of legally permitted cosmetic ingredients by the EU.

For more interesting information about the different CBD consumption methods, please check out some of our blog articles.

Types of CBD lab tests

How can you determine how long CBD has been present in your system? There are a number of lab tests that can be performed to find this out as well as to detect whether or not THC is present in different parts of your body. In this section, we have summarised our analysis of the main ones.

  • Urine test

It is the most popular and widely used screening method. However, it is important to keep in mind that the window for detecting THC and CBD with urine tests can differ greatly. In the main, it can depend on the dose you take and how often you use it. Usually, these metabolites can be detected in urine three days to two weeks after your last dose. According to this source, THC metabolites can be detected within fifteen days after ingestion by infrequent and daily users. On the other hand, research also shows that these numbers can vary depending on the dosage.

  • Hair test

Firstly, hair tests for THC and CBD are very rare and well-known for their ability to detect substances over a long period of time. Hair tests can detect THC metabolites in CBD up to three months after consumption.

  • Blood test

In order to screen for CBD and other cannabinoids, blood tests are not as commonly used as urine onec. The reason is how quickly THC is removed from the bloodstream. Typically, THC can be found in plasma for only about five hours after ingestion. However, THC metabolites, and therefore CBD, can be present for up to a week.

  • Saliva test

As with hair, saliva tests for CBD or THC are incredibly rare for employment or legal reasons. Nevertheless, the compounds can be detected within minutes of ingestion and can last up to 36 hours, depending on the dosage and frequency of use.

There are a wide range of different tests to detect cannabinoids (especially, THC) in the body system. The main reason why they are not used in equal frequency is the diverse duration of cannabinoid’s presence in parts and substances of the human body system.

Other individual factors

This research indicates that CBD generally stays in our system for about 1-3 days, but let’s not forget that various individual factors can significantly reduce or prolong this period. Consider some of the most important factors that can determine how long CBD remains in the body’s systems.

  • Metabolism

Metabolism is one of the major factors that determine how quickly CBD can be excreted from the body. Health professionals believe that taller people have a higher metabolism. Moreover, an active lifestyle can enhance metabolic processes.

  • Age

While CBD is not recommended for children, adults and seniors find it beneficial in many ways. Some improve their diet with CBD oils for possible balanced nutrition, less stress and better sleep, while others use CBD to potentially alleviate inflammation and chronic pain. Regardless of the many reasons, we need to remember that as we age, our bodies can work and react differently. For example, some cells may lose their ability to function properly or start working differently. Metabolic processes might also change in unpredictable ways and affect the duration that CBD remains in the body.

  • Dosage

It is not only the amount of CBD ingested but also its concentration that will affect how long CBD stays in the body.

  • Frequency of CBD use

Unfortunately, the effects of long-term CBD use are still not understood to this day. What we do know is that the frequency of CBD consumption might lead to a cumulative effect and consequently a prolonged presence of CBD in the body’s systems.

  • Diet

This is not an individual factor, but one that should be regarded as important. Like most things we consume, the speed at which our bodies can process it depends on how busy they are processing other things. When CBD is taken on an empty stomach, it can be metabolised more rapidly than on a full stomach, and thus it is eliminated faster.

Ways to avoid THC in CBD products

As you may know, different CBD products can contain certain amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. If you are concerned about having THC in the CBD products that you take, you can find ones without any THC content. Thanks to complex and diverse extraction methods, a range of products with varying levels of CBD and THC can be produced. There are two types of CBD that contain zero amount of THC: broad-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate

CBD isolate is pure CBD from which all other cannabinoids have been removed. Actually, it is the purest form of CBD you can find on the market.

Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all naturally occurring cannabinoids except THC, which is removed during the manufacturing process so this product can be taken without worrying about the THC content.

Final thoughts

There is no exact answer to the question of how long CBD stays in the body’s systems. This is because we all have different bodily characteristics and one person may consume CBD in a different way than another. According to existing research, CBD can stay in your system for 24 hours to several weeks. However, you should not be afraid of failing a drug test if you are taking pure CBD products. Besides, in most cases, the permissible amount of THC in European CBD products is too low to be regarded as illegal. At the same time, there is the suggestion that some specific drug testing technologies in the US could possibly mistake CBD for THC. Minimising the risk of THC traces in your products will help you stay on the safe side. Also, please remember that more research on the interaction between CBD and the human body is still needed.

Sources:

  1. Considerations and Implications of Cannabidiol Use During Pregnancy (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32524214/)
  2. A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365/full)
  3. CBD or THC? Common Drug Test Can’t Tell the Difference (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/science/cbd-thc-cannabis-cannabidiol.html)
  4. CosIng. Ingredient : Cannabidiol – Derived from Extract or Tincture or Resin of Cannabis (https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.details_v2&id=96287)
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